Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 25, 2006

Ehrlich's petty ploy to revive slots plan

I find it astounding that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is now arguing that we must have slot machine gambling to cover the costs of the population growth that will be caused by the base realignment process ("Ehrlich sees slots in '07," Aug. 20).

Wasn't it Mr. Ehrlich who boasted that the process would be good for Maryland, bringing both jobs and tax revenues?

Yet he now appears to be arguing that this influx will be so costly for Maryland that we will need to resort to scamming quarters from our seniors and sucking dollars out of our poorest neighborhoods.

Clearly this is just another desperate attempt by the governor to justify his discredited slots scheme.

It's time our governor gave up on gambling and moved on to the state's important business.

Aaron Meisner

Baltimore

The writer is a former co-chairman of StopSlots Maryland.

EU drug distribution proves perfectly safe

In his column on supply chain safety in the pharmaceutical sector, Peter Pitts incorrectly links the worrisome issue of counterfeit medicines with the perfectly safe and legal practice of parallel distribution of medicines in Europe ("Pharmaceutical fakery is health care terrorism," Opinion

Commentary Aug. 15).

Relying on the European Union's founding principle of the free movement of goods, parallel drug distribution in Europe is entirely legal and supported by EU member states, the European Court of Justice and the European Commission,

Contrary to what Mr. Pitts suggests, parallel distributors source and sell products exclusively from EU countries and therefore do not facilitate the entry of products from non-EU countries such as Russia.

Associating counterfeiting with Europe's parallel distributors, who have operated successfully and safely for decades, is unjustified and irresponsible.

Mr. Pitts' allegations are, at best, unfounded, at worst blatantly false.

In fact, to date there has not been a single case of counterfeit drugs in Europe which have entered the legitimate supply chain via parallel trade.

Parallel distributors and their products must be licensed. The industry is subject to strict national and European regulations and is required to keep meticulous batch records of all sales and purchases.

In our own trade association, comprising some 70 member companies across the EU, adherence to strict "Good Distribution Practice" guidelines is mandatory.

The idea that the EU's latest enlargement round has compromised the safety of the European pharmaceutical supply chain also belies reality.

Indeed the new member states in Eastern Europe are subject to a transitional mechanism under which they can only import parallel medicines from the old member states.

Health experts and the pharmaceutical industry are right to worry about the worldwide risk of counterfeit drugs.

But they are looking in the wrong place when they put the spotlight on European parallel distributors, who provide a valuable service to patients and national health care systems by providing safe and more affordable access to innovative branded medicines.

Richard Freudenberg

Doncaster, England

The writer is Secretary-General of the British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors.

Merchants on Shore need sales tax break

It was interesting to note that the state expects to lose $5.5 million in sales tax revenue in the coming days because of the special sales tax pass we get on some back-to-school items ("Evade Md. taxes legally this week," Aug. 22).

But I am a retired Eastern Shore merchant who fought the Delaware no-sales-tax syndrome for many years. Would anybody like to guess what my store lost in revenue daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to Delaware?

Eastern Shore merchants could use some relief in the form of a reduced sales tax to encourage more people to stay home and shop.

High gas prices don't seem to be doing the trick. So why not try a reduced sales tax for the Shore?

Larry Motter

Chestertown

Passing the buck on Iraq isn't noble

President Bush's "stay-the-course" mantra regarding the call for a pullout from Iraq has a stalwart sound ("Bush frames touchy topics as winners for Republicans," Aug. 22).

But what Mr. Bush is really saying, in effect, is that no matter how many more gruesome deaths and injuries, Iraqi and American, will be suffered as we prolong our stay in Iraq or how many multiple billions of extra tax dollars that will be squandered in this hopeless enterprise or how much the rage in the Muslim world, which will translate into even more terrorism, proliferates, Mr. Bush, as our president will force us to stay in Iraq as long as he is in the White House just to protect his legacy.

This resolve is to leave it to the next president to come up with solutions to the problems he created. That makes him the anti-Truman.

President Harry Truman's motto was "the buck stops here."

The truly courageous confront their problems; the cowardly pass the buck.

Virginia Linsenmeyer

Timonium

Judge right to make Bush respect the law

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